HL Deb 29 November 1983 vol 445 cc605-6

6.19 p.m.

Lord Gray of Contin rose to move, That the order laid before the House on 27th October be approved.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move that the order laid before the House on 27th October be approved.

The purpose of the order is to prescribe a new multiplier of 12.7 to be used in calculating by reference to the rate able value of a house the amount of a well maintained payment under Section 21 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1969. A "well maintained" payment is a supplementary payment made by the local authority over and above the basic compensation provided for in statute. It is an incentive and reward to residents to maintain their houses in good order even although the houses are sub-tolerable.

Local authorities are required, under Section 25 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1966, as amended by the Housing (Scotland) Acts of 1969 and 1974, to make payments in respect of well maintained houses which fail to meet the tolerable standard and have been vacated in pursuance of a closing order or a demolition order or have been purchased compulsorily by a local authority in order to effect repairs. Local authorities are also required, under Section 30 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1974, to make payments for well maintained, but sub-tolerable, houses in housing action areas which are made the subject of compulsory purchase for the purpose of bringing them up to the requisite standard.

The basis for determining a "well maintained" payment is that it should equal the rateable value of the house multiplied by a factor prescribed by statute. Since being set by statute in 1957 the multiplying factor has been 7.2, but there has been a steady increase to the value of the payments as an automatic result of rating revaluations. The increase from 7.2 to 12.7 is intended to reflect fully the increase in maintenance costs which has taken place since the multiplier was last reviewed in 1978.

Since the institution of "well maintained" payments in 1957 revaluation of Scottish rateable values has occurred on four occasions—in 1961, 1966, 1971 and 1978. It has, therefore, hitherto been unnecessary to adjust the multiplier of 7.2, set by statute in 1957, in order to maintain the value of "well maintained" payments.

In local authority expenditure terms the effect will be minimal because "well maintained" payments are a minor part of a local authority's slum clearance budget; indeed, we have reason to believe that if progress on clearance is maintained total expenditure by Scottish local authorities on these payments should only increase by around £75,000. I beg to move.

Moved, That the order laid before the House on 27th October be approved.—(Lord Gray of Contin.)

Lord Ross of Marnock

My Lords, I entirely agree with what is being done.

On Question, Motion agreed to.